Venerable Viradhammo was born at Esslingen in Germany in 1947 to Latvian refugee parents. They moved to Toronto, Canada, when he was 5 years old. He studied engineering at the University of Toronto but became disillusioned with academic life, and left in 1969 to go and work in Germany. Later, while living in India, he encountered Buddhism, meeting the late Samanera Bodhesako, who introduced him to the writings of Venerable Nanavira Thera. He eventually traveled to Thailand to become a samanera at Wat Mahathat and took upasampada in 1974 at Wat Pah Pong. He was one of the first residents at Wat Pah Nanachat.
Having spent four years in Thailand, he went back to Canada and Germany to visit his family in 1977. Instead of returning to Thailand, he was asked by Ajahn Chah to join Ajahn Sumedho at the Hampstead Vihara, in London. In subsequent years, he was involved in the establishment of both Chithurst and Harnham monasteries.
In 1985, on invitation by the Wellington Theravada Buddhist Association, he moved to New Zealand, accompanied by Venerable Thanavaro, where he lived for 10 years setting up Bodhinyanarama monastery.
In 1995 he came to UK to assist Ajahn Sumedho at Amaravati and stayed for 4 years before returning to New Zealand where he was resident. Now he is establishing a Tisarana Buddhist Forest Monasteryin Eastern Canada.